New Delhi/Kishtwar: One
person was killed and tremors were felt in the Indian capital and
large parts of north India, including Srinagar, Jammu, Shimla and
Chandigarh, following a 5.8-magnitude quake centred near the Jammu
and Kashmir-Himachal Pradesh border Wednesday.
The casualty was reported near Kishtwar in Jammu and Kashmir.
"The quake happened at 12.27 p.m. and measured 5.8 on the Richter
scale. The epicentre was near Kishtwar town in the Jammu and
Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh border region," R.S. Dattatreya,
director, Department of Seismology, India Meteorological
Department (IMD), told IANS.
"It is a moderate tremor in Delhi and other northern regions. We
ask the public not to panic," Dattatreya said.
"The quake was 10 kilometres beneath the earth's surface ... the
possibility of aftershocks is very minimal for such a low
intensity quake," added L.S. Rathore, the IMD's director general
In Jammu, an official of the Met department said: "The maximum
impact of the quake was felt in Doda and Kishtwar districts."
According to Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police of
Doda-Kishtwar Range Ashkoor Wani, one person was killed when a
boulder hit him near Kishtwar.
"Gosain Ram, who was tending goats, died when a boulder that had
slipped down from a mountain hit him," said Wani.
Twenty-nine people, including 23 school children, were injured
when three school buildings collapsed in Bhaderwah town of Doda
district. Another 24 people, including 20 school children, were
injured when three school buildings collapsed in Gandoh area of
Doda district, officials said.
The tremors, felt across large parts of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu
and Kashmir, Haryana and Punjab, lasted six to seven seconds. The
temblor caused panic in some places, particularly in hilly areas,
some of which reported cracks in homes and buildings.
Reports of cracks in office and residential buildings and
disruption of communication systems came in from Bhaderwah, Doda
and Kishtwar towns of Jammu region. Details of damage caused were
not immediately available.
"We have reports of many buildings having developed big cracks
while some mud houses in Chatroo, Thathri, Bhaderwah areas have
collapsed," an official in Jammu said.
The administration was gathering information, "but so far there is
no report of loss of life", he added.
In Kashmir's summer capital Srinagar and other parts of the
Valley, people rushed out of their homes and work-places in panic
when the tremor occurred.
"I witnessed the chair rocking as the earthquake occurred. It took
me a few seconds to realise what was happening. Everybody started
running out of the building in panic," said Sajad Ahmad, a local
businessman in Srinagar.
Kashmir is situated in an earthquake-prone region where huge
devastation has been caused by earthquakes in the past.
On Oct 8, 2005, more than 40,000 people were killed in a massive
quake that struck both parts of divided Kashmir. The quake
measured 7.8 on the Richter scale.
In Himachal Pradesh, Sandeep Kadam, the deputy commissioner of
Chamba, told IANS over phone that there were reports of cracks in
some houses in Pangi and Tissa areas of the district.
Chamba is one of remotest places in the state where most of the
houses in the interiors are made of mud.
North India had felt two mild tremors in April alone. On April 24,
a series of tremors were felt when an earthquake measuring 5.7 on
the Richter scale, with its epicentre in the Hindu Kush ranges off
Afghanistan, occurred. On April 16, an earthquake measuring 7.8 on
the Richter scale rocked the Pakistan-Iran region.